Tuesday, September 30, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Angie Dickinson!

AKA Angeline Brown.

Born September 30, 1931.

She is an American actress most famous for her roles in such movies as Rio Bravo and Dressed to Kill as well as her title role in the 1970s TV series Police Woman, the first successful hour-long TV drama to have a woman as its star. She also posed for a certain poster, which was never as popular as the Farrah Fawcett poster of the 1970s yet memorable enough for us men of a certain age.

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Comic Book Image of the Week

This looks familiar.

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Monday, September 29, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Miguel de Cervantes!

AKA Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra.

Born September 29, 1547 (assumed). Died April 22, 1616.

He was one of the world's first novelists and the most famous Hispanic writer ever. His most famous work was, of course, Don Quixote.

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Quote of the Week

But what is really meant is Anglo-American culture as the heir to some grand European tradition. Anglo-American culture? That would have been a good laugh to José Enrique Rodó. The influential fin-de-siècle Uruguayan essayist, soul brother in spite of himself to today’s gringo neo-cons doing righteous battle for the values of the West, argued in his Ariel that Latin-American culture was the heir to the grand European tradition and that the natural enemies of these values were the Anglo Americans. Rodó’s argument had history on its side: Latins, after all are descended from Rome; the Anglos, as everyone knows, were barbarians. Chauvinistic nonsense? You betcha.
--Enrique Fernandez, “P.C. Rider,” The Village Voice, June 18, 1991, vol. 36, no 25

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Literary Quote I Like

I wonder why the Americans got rid of the Mexicans in the first place when they now spend their leisure trying to make themselves look indistinguishable from them!
--Michael Moorcock, Jerusalem Commands

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Saturday, September 27, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Liz Torres!

AKA Elizabeth "Liz" Torres.

Born September 27, 1947.

She has been one of my favorite actresses since I first saw her star as Cloris Leachman's boss on the old TV series Phyllis. She has been in a lot of good TV shows since -- though there have been times when the roles she has taken could have been better -- but she has never really been a star. Except in my eyes, of course.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Thomas Nast!

Born September 27, 1840. Died December 7, 1902.

He was one of the most influential cartoonists in American history. Of course, some of his cartoons -- like the above one, for example -- were not quite that influential but as a whole, I would like to think he has done more good than harm -- especially in regard to political reform. Of course, it could be argued that some recent scandals involving the American branch of the Roman Catholic church have given new meaning to the above cartoon, anyway, but I'll leave that argument to another day.

Anyway, Nast's cartoons helped take down the corrupt New York politico Boss Tweed and of course, Nast also helped to create the modern version of Santa Claus as well as the Republican Party's elephant symbol. He did not invent the symbol of Uncle Sam nor did he invent the Democratic Party's donkey symbol but his work helped make those symbols more popular. Indeed, it is safe to say that without his cartoons, the United States would be a very different place from what it is today.

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Friday, September 26, 2014

Movie Poster of the Week

I am guessing that the late Gabriel García Márquez never imagined one of his novels inspiring a movie like this.

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Cuento de Mi Id

“The Mission”

From a distance, the mission thrust up against the sky as if it was part of the natural landscape. There were hundreds of ruins like this in the American Southwest, Taylor realized, scattered throughout the land like broken teeth. An empire had died here -- a far-flung empire which had conquered the great cities of the Aztecs and the wily Moors but had proved powerless against the onslaught of red-skinned barbarians.

The barbarians always win in the end, thought Taylor. They had defeated the Spanish dandies at Goliad and Veracruz and now were in the process of taking over the Great Plains from other barbarians. It was not civilization which counted in the end; it was strength. As soon as a nation forgot that, it was doomed, but Taylor’s nation was still young and prided itself on its barbarism. It had been built up not by silver-haired dandies in Boston and Richmond but by frontiersmen like himself, who were socially just a step above the Indians as far as their so-called “betters” were concerned.

Taylor took pride in that fact, and also in the fact that for seven weeks, he had avoided a posse of Tucson’s finest. If they ever caught him, it was back to Tucson for an appointment with a rope, but in the meantime, he had led them a merry chase through territory no white man in his right mind would dare to enter. Now he was exhausted, and his canteen was nearly empty. The mission looked deserted but a nearby aqueduct promised water and there was sure to be a well.

Taylor staggered forward, too tired to run although part of him yearned for shelter from the blazing desert sun. The mission would be a good place to rest before he went over the mountains. A good place to hide, too, in case any of his pursuers showed up over the horizon.

With those thoughts in mind, he staggered inside the open gate, taking note of his surroundings until he reached the well in the main plaza. The well was sealed by a metal lid chained down and engraved with words which Taylor recognized as part of the Spanish language. From what he read, the well appeared to be cursed, perhaps poisoned by rebellious Indians.

No matter. There was still the aqueduct. But first, rest. The chapel was deserted; a broken communion chalice lay broken on the ground before the altar. On the back wall, a gold cross covered with light brown stains dimly reflected the desert sun. This should have rang a warning bell in Taylor’s normally suspicious mind, but he was too tired to think about it.

He sat down in a heap behind the back pew. Exhausted from days of travel, he soon fell asleep. In his mind, he seemed to hear the posse behind him. A rampaging mob out to lynch him from the highest tree. He awoke once or twice and looked out upon the horizon but no one was there.

At last his stomach awoke and he nibbled on his last piece of jerky. Not much else to eat out here and he wasn’t sure where he was going to find another supply. Perhaps in the mountains, he could find something. In that case, he’d better conserve his bullets.

He went looking for water and found the aqueduct totally inadequate for his purpose. With the departure of the Spaniards, the structure had gone downhill, its water now blocked by masses of fallen stone. Perhaps the original source had dried up and the Indians had simply lacked the knowledge to find another one, much less build another aqueduct. Whatever the reason, its channels were now as dry as dust, evoking a strangely powerful thirst in Taylor’s parched throat.

But there was still the well. The chains clung tightly and Taylor was forced to search for a tool to pry them loose. In one of the outbuildings, he found some digging tools, put there, no doubt, for use on the once fertile fields. He found a pickaxe and hauled that over to the well. A few strikes with it upon the massive padlock and the hasp broke. The chains came off. The well was open.

Taylor had just pulled off the massive lid when he realized that there was no rope or bucket. The brackish water appeared to be about a half-mile down and there was no way to haul it up. With a curse, Taylor stalked off to search through the outbuildings again. He finally came up with a rusty metal bucket and a length of old rope. He attached one end of the rope to the bucket, and let it down into the well very slowly. But the rope wasn’t quite long enough. So he had to search for another length of rope.

A scurrying noise sounded behind him, but when he looked, no one was there. Perhaps it had been a rat. Perhaps not. He drew out his revolver and searched the grounds, but he couldn’t find a trace of any living creature besides himself. Yet the peculiar feeling of having missed something persisted.

Where else could he have looked? The well? He found his piece of rope and went back to the well. Knotting the two lengths together, he formed a strand long enough to reach down into the well water. He let the bucket down easily and hauled it up half-full. The water tasted brackish, but it was still water. It had an odd, fishy taste to it, but it beat dying of thirst.

Night would soon be upon him now. No time to make it to the mountains. Shame. He would have to sleep here at the mission.

He walked back to the church, slightly surprised that the water that had looked so brackish wasn’t affecting his stomach in any manner. A man’s body will accept anything if he’s thirsty enough, he thought, and with that, he entered the church.

He heard another scurrying noise behind him. He turned and saw nothing.

Then he turned back toward the altar and saw something step toward him out of the darkness. He suddenly dived behind the back pew, drew out his revolver, and without looking, fired four shots in the direction of the altar. Then he looked up.

A woman in a nun’s habit and a black veil was standing there, smiling.

“Ten cuidado,” she said with a Castilian lilt to her voice. “You could have hurt someone with that thing.”

Taylor just looked at her. “How come you ain’t dead?”

“You weren’t exactly aiming too carefully now, were you?” She said with a smile. “Perhaps you missed.”

Her teeth seemed awfully white for a woman who had been alone in this mission for so long. Or did she come from the mission? Could she have traveled across the desert like himself? And if so, where had she been all this time? Taylor would have seen anyone coming from miles around. And he was sure he had searched every hiding place before. Everywhere that is except the well. But surely…

“You really should be careful with that thing,” she said, indicating his gun. “You could have hurt someone.”

“Who are you?” said Taylor. “And how did you get here?”

“My,” she said. “How impolite.”

He cocked his gun and aimed it in her direction. “Well?”

“You really shouldn’t be so rude,” she said. “After all, it was not I who trespassed upon your domain, but you who trespassed upon mine.”

“Never mind that,” Taylor said. “Just answer my question or in five minutes, your gray matter is going to be spread out all over them church tiles.”

“You don’t really want to do that,” said the woman. “The posse you’re worried about could be coming within earshot of this place any time now and all it would take to bring them here in a hurry would be one more gunshot.”

“How did you know about the posse?”

“How can I not know about the posse? Dios knows you’ve been thinking about it often enough. Besides, shouldn‘t you be saving your bullets for hunting?”

Taylor fired.

The woman’s skull exploded and she went down. Whatever she had been, she was certainly susceptible to cold lead as much as the next person.

Then he turned. And saw a man in a priest’s outfit blocking his way. He too seemed Spanish. And his clothes, hair and skin were all wet. Almost as if he had been hiding in the w--

He hastily aimed his revolver but the pseudo-priest just knocked it out of his hand as easily as it had been candy.

“You shouldn’t have done that to my wife, señor. It was not very polite.”

Taylor reached for the Bowie knife in his boot, only to find the stranger clutching his two hands and dragging him out into the sunlight.

Behind him, from the direction of the altar, he heard a gurgling noise. Almost as if something was trying to revive itself from a severe injury.

But no. That couldn’t be.

As the man dragged Taylor out into the sunlight, he noticed to his horror that he was being dragged toward the well.

“My wife was hiding in the hills when the Spaniards came and trapped me,” said the man. “Had she been stronger, she would have set me free herself. But she wasn’t strong enough…and of course, there was that whole holy water thing. But she got her vengeance upon the Spaniards eventually. And now that you have freed me, I am quite sure that she would have paid you back for that favor -- had you not been so impolite.”

Taylor tried to say something. “Creatures like you... you can’t exist.”

“But we do exist,” said the man. “And for the record, we’ve lived in this area far, far longer than you.” He smiled. “Or the Spaniards.”

He came to the wall and grabbed a length of rope. With one hand he held Taylor down while with the other he tied his hands and feet.

“You can’t be meaning to do what I think you’re meaning to do,” said Taylor. “It wouldn’t be civilized.”

“You did say much earlier that the barbarians always win,” said the man. “Just think of this as yet another inevitable victory.”

He tied the other length of rope to Taylor’s feet and started lowering him into the well. From the direction of the church, Taylor thought he heard something heavy bump against something. Almost as if it was stumbling against a door or something.

“Please,” said Taylor. “You can’t do this.”

The man stopped and looked at him. “And how many of your victims did you spare when they cried for mercy?”

“Well, that was different,” said Taylor. “I couldn’t have let them live. They would have fingered me at the next trial and then they would have hung me.”

The pseudo-priest smiled. “And yet you ended up fleeing to escape a death sentence anyway. You humans and your ludicrous morality.”

He dropped the rope and Taylor fell the rest of the way into the well. He should have drowned... but he didn’t. The water was just deep enough to break his fall and shallow enough for him to stand up and keep his mouth out of the water. Now if he could only find a way to cut the rope and then climb up.

The pseudo-priest looked down at him again and smiled. “Lucky for you that my wife and I aren’t hungry yet. But I suspect that we both will be... later on.”

He put the lid back on the well and left Taylor in darkness.

Too late Taylor reached his Bowie knife but the way his limbs were tied, he couldn’t quite reach it. If he could get out of here in time, he’d make them two sorry they had ever treated him like this.

Perhaps if he could reach a jagged rock or broken brick.

Then he heard the sound of metal moving. Someone was removing the well lid.

The posse, perhaps? Or some kindly passerby?

Instead, he just saw the man again and the thing he called his spouse. In one hand he was holding Taylor’s revolver.

The man grinned. “My dear wife just reminded me that you had left this behind up here and that it would not be very polite of us to keep it. Indeed, one might say that it would not be civilized. And you so much wanted me to be civilized when we had spoken before.”

Taylor shrugged. Perhaps his luck was changing.

If the two were dumb enough to give him back his gun while the two were still within shooting range...

The gun fired. Just one time.

Afterwards, the pseudo-priest tossed the now-empty gun into the well and replaced the lid.

But Taylor didn’t even try to grab for it.

He wasn’t ever likely to grab for anything ever again. And he did not even feel it when his body fell over and the brackish water started entering his mouth.

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Thursday, September 25, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Cheryl Tiegs!

AKA Cheryl Rae Tiegs.

Born September 25, 1947.

She is an American model, author and designer who is considered to be the world's first supermodel as well as the first model to branch off into the business world and become successful in retail. She did three covers for Time Magazine and appeared three times in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue issues. She also posed for a 1978 poster which was as iconic for my generation as the classic Farrah Fawcett swimsuit poster. Of course, I remember her best for the above photo but then that's just me.

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Movie Quote of the Week

He must be rich if he writes books.
--Anna Sten, The Wedding Night (1935)

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TV Quote of the Week

You know, it is a defect that I have observed worldwide. Obviously you have seen it too, that is to say that men of any country seem to think that men of other countries are the lucky ones. You know what I mean? For example, we take the Italians. The Italians, they like Swiss girls. The German man likes the Spanish woman. And the Greek, ah the Greek, they like the Danes, you know. That's the way it is. It never fails. Never, never, never fails.
--Vito Scotti, The Bionic Woman (The First Series), “Fly Jaime”

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Iconos de Cine (Spaniards I)

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Book of the Week

The biggest problem with Americanos: Latino Life in the United States is that the people who most need to read it probably will not read it because they are quite sure that they already know what Latinos are like. Of course, those who are most likely to read the book will undoubtedly have similar notions about what actual Latinos are like but their notions are more likely to be based on fact since they are either themselves Latinos or else have Latino friends, in-laws, co-workers or relatives. So while it would be nice if they read the book too, I suspect that such a book will be doing little more than preaching to the converted.

Then again actor Edward James Olmos once said in response to a photo in this book that portrayed a Hispanic child playing chess, "Who puts chess with Latinos? Nobody. Or water polo? Or surfing? You just don't, in the U.S., put them together."

This quote makes me sad because when I was growing up, neither my Mexican-born father nor any of my Mexican-American cousins had any problem seeing chess as a Mexican-American activity. Indeed, as my father often noted, chess has quite a history in the Hispanic world. Unfortunately that aspect of chess history is rarely recognized here in the United States where chess is presumed to be not only an activity for smart people but an activity for white non-Hispanic people as well. And if I had not grown up with the type of relatives I have, I might have thought of chess in the same way that Olmos alluded to in that quote.

Indeed, as much as I would like to dismiss Olmos's statement as an obvious untruth, I can't help remembering that I had a problem seeing surfing as a Latino thing for many years even though some words of surfer slang -- for example, "chick" -- were derived from Spanish. For that matter, I rarely saw water polo as anything other than an activity for rich WASPs because that was the impression I got from American books, movies and TV shows -- an impression that might not have existed if a book like Americanos had existed in my youth.

So maybe I should not be so hasty about dismissing the importance of Americanos to would-be readers in the Latino and Latinophile communities. After all, it would be nice if would-be Hispanophobes read it too but that does not mean that there is not much in this book that non-Hispanophobes can learn from as well. And if you choose to be one of the few smart people out there who don't believe this book is worth reading, you can always look at the pictures.

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Tuesday, September 23, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Elizabeth Peña!

Born September 23, 1959.

She has long since been one of my favorite actresses ever since I saw her in the 1987 movie La Bamba. I also liked her in the otherwise mediocre TV series I Married Dora and if that isn't dedication, I don't know what is.

Seriously, though, Ms. Peña has made a lot of good movies and I would like to think that her appearances in Resurrection Blvd. and other TV shows more than make up for any rocky start her career might have had in her younger days. Then again I am a tad biased in her favor.

Edited to Add:

Apparently Ms. Peña was born in 1959, not 1961. Given Hollywood's prejudice against older women, I don't blame her for hiding her true age but it was still a surprise.

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Monday, September 22, 2014

Quote of the Week

I am lucky. I have the angels of words beside me. So many of us are silent.
--Luis Alberto Urrea, Nobody's Son: Notes from an American Life

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Sunday, September 21, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Stephen King!

AKA Stephen Edwin King.

Born September 21, 1947.

One of my all-time favorite horror writers has a birthday today.

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Gary Jennings!

Born September 20, 1928. Died February 13, 1999.

He is one of my favorite historical writers. Like Mika Waltari, he is no longer with us. But I still like and admire his many short stories and I also like his historical novels though I must admit that many of those novels are not likely to be to everyone's taste.

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Black as the Pit from Pole to Pole

Funny how stereotypes change over time. Back in the first century A.D., Germans were considered synonymous with chaos and barbarism. Today they are more often identified with order and efficiency. The Scandinavians horrified Western Europe with their Viking raids back in the Middle Ages but nowadays, they are known primarily for their pacifism. The Englishmen of the Elizabethan era were considered to be rude, crude individuals as were the Spaniards of Cervantes's time. Yet by the Victorian era, Englishmen were known for being anything but rude and crude and today we are more likely to associate Spaniards with foppish mannerisms than with the rude behavior they displayed in Cervantes's day.

In short, stereotypes are not engraved in stone and they tend to change over time. The average historian knows this quite well. The average chauvinist should know it as well but he tends to deny it -- even when the popular culture proves him wrong time after time.

Consider the way Poles were portrayed in the 1935 movie The Wedding Night. If you were to ask the average American nowadays what ethnic groups they most associated with arranged marriages, agricultural labor and domestic violence, neither Poles nor Polish Americans would be among the first few ethnic groups to come to mind. Ironically, they would be more apt to associate Mexicans or Mexican-Americans with these traits -- and yet, in this movie, there are no characters of Mexican descent that I could see. Instead it was the Polish characters in this movie who acted out the type of stereotypes that most people today would associate with Mexican immigrants. Indeed, the Poles in this flick were depicted as rural folk who are hot-tempered, prone to arranging marriages and obsessed with controlling women. Moreover, they were also depicted as being so different from mainstream Americans that one would hardly associate them with today's Polish-Americans.

So is this a good thing? Not necessarily. Then again The Wedding Night told its story so convincingly that it never occurred to me, the son of a Polish-American woman, to question its image of Polish-Americans. If anything, I found the movie quite convincing in its heartbreaking portrayal of the problems faced by a young immigrant woman named Manya Novak (played by Ukrainian-born actress Anna Sten) who struggled to reconcile her loyalty to her Polish roots with her attraction to the modernity of the American way and I could not help but wonder how often the same story could be told today about many non-Polish immigrants.

But enough about that.

The movie started out in New York City as bored author Tony Barrett (played by Gary Cooper) found out that his latest novel was such a flop that even his best friend and publisher chose to have nothing to do with it. He talked his wife Dora (played by Helen Vinson) into vamoosing back to his family homestead in Connecticut where he discovered that he had a family of Polish immigrants as neighbors. He became intrigued by their quaint ways and in return, the family's oldest daughter (the above-mentioned Manya) became intrigued by him and his quaint ways. Nothing came of it though until Dora departed for NYC and Tony was forced to rely more and more upon his Polish neighbors for supplies. Along the way, he learned something about the work ethic from Manya and before long, she was performing as the unofficial muse for his new novel.

Then Manya's father caught on that Manya was spending a little too much time at the Barrett household for an engaged woman. Tony found out that Manya did not love the man she was engaged to marry and that the engagement was part of an arrangement between her father and her husband-to-be. However, Tony was powerless to stop her from going through with it.

Things got worse when a snowstorm stranded Manya at Tony's place and she was forced to stay the night. Even though Manya and Tony spent the night in separate bedrooms, that fact did little to spare Manya from the wrath of her father the next morning. Then the audience discovered that Manya was not necessarily going along with her father by choice. At the first sign of defiance, Manya's father showed no hesitation in slapping her and reminded her that she did not have the same freedom as an American girl. After all, she was a Polish girl, which meant Manya had no choice but to obey her father's wishes -- whether she liked it or not.

Then Dora returned and learned of the relationship between Manya and Tony. Though Tony insisted that everything was innocent and that Dora was the one who should be explaining her social activities in his absence, Dora suspected differently. She read Tony's unfinished novel and realized from his written words just how strong the bond between writer and muse had become. But Dora was not yet ready to step aside from her marriage and poor Manya was already in enough trouble with her father as it was. Once Dora spoke to her, things just got worse.

Soon afterward, Manya got married and it looked as if everything would be finally settled. But, alas, Manya's wedding night had one last nasty surprise left for the Novaks and the Barretts. And someone ended up paying a big price for said surprise...

I don't know what I expected from The Wedding Night but I found myself far more moved by it than I had expected. Perhaps it was because I identified a bit with Manya. Perhaps it was because I identified a bit with Tony (though I hate to admit that). But most likely it was because I liked the rather complex relationship it depicted between Tony and Dora. Dora was hardly the ideal wife but she was not unsympathetic either. A bad movie would have portrayed her in shades of black, but this film just settled for portraying her in shades of gray and as a result, I actually felt for both her and Manya. Tony had his moments too but I could not help thinking that if he had been a more responsible person and not so intent on putting Manya in an impossible position, things would not have gotten so bad.

It said a lot about the movie that although Gary Cooper played Tony as a sympathetic character, he too had scenes in which he was less than sympathetic. For example, the time he acted so priggish to his returning wife was not one of his better moments. Nor was his attempt to hit on Manya as if she were just a woman whose sole reason for existence was to please him and only him.

Towards the end of the movie, it became obvious that Tony felt strongly about Manya and that Manya felt strongly about him. But ultimately his feelings for her appeared to do her more harm than good. While it would seem naive to believe that Manya's life would have been happier had she never met Tony Barrett, it seems equally naive to believe that Tony bore no responsibility for Manya's fate. Perhaps this last part was why he was so quiet at the end of the movie. And why he was so eager to remember Manya as she had been in the comparatively happy past -- and not as she was in the present.

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Friday, September 19, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mike Royko!

AKA Michael Royko.

Born September 19, 1932. Died April 29, 1997.

He was an American journalist and the winner of the 1972 Pulitzer Prize for commentary. I used to read his op-ed columns in a now-deceased local paper when I was growing up. I always admired his tendency to argue on behalf of the underdog and to never give a crooked politico an even break. We could use more journalists like him today but for some reason, I doubt we will get any. However, I would like to hope that I'm wrong about that last part.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Damon Knight!

AKA Damon Francis Knight.

Born September 19, 1922. Died April 15, 2002.

One of the first science fiction books I ever bought was a paperback collection of short stories by Damon Knight. And he has been one of my favorite science fiction writers ever since.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Mika Waltari!

AKA Mika Toimi Waltari.

Born September 19, 1908. Born August 26, 1979.

He is one of my favorite writers of historical novels as well as one of my favorite authors from Finland. (Okay, he is the only author from Finland on my literary favorites list as of this moment but that could change.)

Thanks to him, I spent a lot of happy hours at the local library. And there's no telling how many readers he has influenced apart from me.

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Movie Poster of the Week

Oddly enough, this poster seems more relevant now than it did back in 1977.

And who knew that Jane Fonda's character was a politician?

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Cuento de Mi Id

“Werewives of London”

I was awakened by my wife one night when there was a full moon. I felt her move against me as she got up and I opened my eyes in time to see her walking out the bedroom door.

I followed her as she sleepwalked through the house and the backyard. I saw her walk down to the old pond and then strip off her lily-white nightgown. By the time I caught up with her, she had already dived into the pond and little pieces of feminine underwear were scattered about the mud like pieces of a torn snakeskin.

I waited for her to rise out of the water. But the only thing that came out was a naked man who emerged on the opposite side of the pond and then disappeared into the woods beyond.

That was three days ago.

I'm still waiting for my wife.

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Movie Quote of the Week

Well, I can't see anything, but... how do I know you can't?
--Virginia Bruce, The Invisible Woman (1940)

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TV Quote of the Week

You are eight feet tall. Your boobs are perfect. Your hair is down to there. If I was you I would just walk around naked all the time. I wouldn't have a job, I wouldn't have any skills, I wouldn't even know how to read. I would just be... naked.
--Sandra Oh, Grey's Anatomy, "No Man's Land"

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Iconos de Cine (Strippers I)

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Jeff MacNelly!

AKA Jeffrey Kenneth MacNelly.

Born September 17, 1947. Died June 8, 2000.

He was an American cartoonist who was a three-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning. One of the few conservative editorial cartoonists to be nationally syndicated in the USA, he was also regularly featured in The National Review. He was also famous for creating the comic strip Shoe.

He has been missed.

Above and below are a few of my favorite MacNelly cartoons:

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Be Still, My Once-Beating Heart!

Perhaps we should consider the 2013 movie Warm Bodies the offical #NotAllZombies movie -- a long-needed cinematic reminder that not all zombies are necessarily evil flesh-eaters out to destroy the human race. Just some of them.

And how do you tell the difference between the good zombies and the bad zombies? Not screenwriter Jonathan Levine's problem. After all, just because a few zombies devour your relatives doesn't give you the right to wax all judgmental. Next thing you know, you'll be passing judgment on serial killers and arsonists and all sorts of evil-doers who are just victims of the human condition. Shame on you!

Anyway, this movie in particular was all about a teen-aged zombie who devoured a girl's boyfriend. After said zombie ate the boyfriend's brain, he absorbed his memories and decided that he (the zombie) was really in love with her. Granted, there were quite a few obstacles to overcome before he could convince her that he was really a nice guy. After all, people tend to be so prejudiced against people who devour their loved ones. But in the end, the power of true love -- and a few lucky breaks -- won out. Which was a good thing for the zombie's would-be love interest. Just imagine if something had gone wrong and the teen-aged zombie had not been able to overcome his tendency towards anthropophagy. Wouldn't that have made for an awkward time at the wedding reception!

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Monday, September 15, 2014

Quote of the Week

It almost seems that nobody can hate America as much as native Americans. America needs new immigrants to love and cherish it.
--Eric Hoffer, Reflections on the Human Condition

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Saturday, September 13, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Warren Murphy!

Born September 13, 1933.

He is an American author who, along with his late writing partner Richard Ben Sapir, created The Destroyer series, one of my favorite men's adventure series. He also wrote quite a few good solo novels as well.

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¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Claudette Colbert!

AKA Emilie Chauchoin.

Born September 13, 1903. Died July 30, 1996.

She was one of my favorite actresses. She was also my favorite actress to play Cleopatra though I liked her other films better than that.

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Movie Quote of the Week

How 'bout I believe in the unlucky ones? Hmm? I have to, Mister Turner, I'd go out of my mind.
--Laura Dern, October Sky (1999)

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TV Quote of the Week

Give all of us gathered here tonight the strength to remember that life is so very fragile. We are all vulnerable, and we will all, at some point in our lives... fall. We will all fall. We must carry this in our hearts... that what we have is special. That it can be taken from us, and when it is taken from us, we will be tested. We will be tested to our very souls. We will now all be tested. It is these times, it is this pain, that allows us to look inside ourselves.
--Kyle Chandler, Friday Night Lights, "Pilot"

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Friday, September 12, 2014

R.I.P. Richard Kiel

American actor Richard Kiel -- best known for his role as Jaws in two James Bond films and his role as Voltaire in the TV series The Wild, Wild West -- retired from his last job as henchman on September 10 at age 74.

He will be missed.

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Wednesday, September 10, 2014

¡Feliz Cumpleaños, Rosie Flores!

Born September 10, 1950.

She is one of my favorite country singers -- if for no other reason, that she so successfully channeled the late Patsy Cline with her cover of the Butch Hancock song "Boxcars." She has also done some nifty covers of Wanda Jackson as well as written many good songs of her own. My favorite albums by her include Rockabilly Filly and Dance Hall Dreams but I am sure I will come across more in the future as long as she keeps recording. And the fact that I don't have more albums of hers on my favorites list is a failing on my part, not hers.

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Iconos de Cine (Teachers I)

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